All hail the God of Frustration!!!
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15 April 2006
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Hi folks,

A little while back I mentioned this set of books - well I have been in contact with the author, Keith Meggs and can now inform you that the first volume of this set should be available in the very near future. Moreover, Keith is recording the details of those who are interested in purchasing a copy so that he may personally inform them when exactly it is available. If you are interested, please send me your details so that I may pass them onto Keith (he doesn't have an e-mail address or indeed even a computer - lucky bastard!!!).

Here are the details of the books:

An encyclopedic, four-volume work on every aircraft type proposed, designed or manufactured in Australia from 1884 to the mid-1980s!


The four volumes in the series cover every known powered aircraft designed or built, from Lawrence Hargrave's experiments in the 1880s through to Keith's self imposed cutoff point in the mid-1980s.

The books lists over 540 aircraft types as well as detailed histories of the companies involved in their construction. Coverage is multi-faceted being technical, operational, historical, industrial, sociological, biographical, and political. Each volume contains numerous photographs and technical drawings, many of which have never before been seen outside the original source. The drawings include many originals from the early Australian aircraft projects.

Exhaustive research was undertaken to unearth the details of negotiations between Australian companies and those in Britain and the USA, most of which are assumed to have been irretrievably lost in the countries of origin, with no mention of them elsewhere. These include production proposals for the Vultee Vengeance, Grumman Panther, Bristol Buckingham, North American F-100, Avro 10, Concordia and the Republic F-105.

All volumes are superbly indexed and cross-referenced with the main text reinforced by extensive and detailed endnotes.

The volumes in detail:

Volume 1:

In this volume, the author has turned his attention to all aspects of aviation from 1884 to 1939 via 14 chapters each packed with a wealth of detailed writing, photographs, and technical drawings never previously seen.

Lawrence Hargrave and George Taylor
Early Experimenters
John Duigan 1 and Further Experimenters
World War 1 Aircraft Design and Building Activity
Australian Aircraft and Engineering Company
1924 Lightplane Competitions
Lasco, Qantas, and West Australian Airways
Randwick Experimental Section
Individual Builders,1918-1930
AMSCo, the MSB,and H.V. McKay
Individual Builders, 1931-1939
GAC, Cockatoo, and Tugan
De Havilland Part 1
Industry Design and Developmental Proposals Between the Wars


Volume 2:

Chapter 15 is devoted entirely to the history of The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, a company, which has played such a huge part in the Australian aviation industry

'CAC' as it was affectionately known by the thousands who worked there was formed in 1936 and was predominantly involved in trainer and fighter production, right through to part-production of the French designed Mirage in the 1980's.

It developed into the most experienced and productive aircraft design organisation in Australia, originating imaginative world-class design proposals in all categories, most of which foundered because of lack of orders from military and civil operators, or from Government developmental sources.

CAC was also the major engine production centre in Australia, beginning with the Single Row Wasp for the Wirraway, through to the General Electric-F404 for the Hornet.

Apart from the thousands of production aircraft processed, the design projects undertaken, and the production programs investigated by CAC included the following:- Grumman Panther, supersonic fighters, Sabreliner, four engined fighter, Warrior air-superiority fighter, CA30-2F Macchi development, GAC-100 airliner, Boeing CH-47c Chinook, Yakovlev Yak-40, Grumman Tomcat, Lockheed Orion, McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and many others.

The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was taken over by Hawker de Havilland on 1 July 1986


Volume 3:

Chapter 16 covers the Government-established facility set-up to manufacture the Bristol Beaufort for World War II and which went on to manufacture the Beaufighter and the Lincoln bomber.

The organisation underwent various title changes, including Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) and Government Aircraft Factory (GAF). The latter is probably best-known for its design and production of the twin-engined Nomad utility aircraft, sold world-wide.

On 1 July, 1987 GAF was removed from its public service umbrella and became AeroSpace Technologies Australia (ASTA), which in turn became a subsidiary of Boeing. This chapter also covers the production undertaken for the aircraft industry by the WWII Annexes established by the Government.

Chapter 17 concerns the second part of the Australian de Havilland story, starting with its production of the DH84 Dragon and continuing through the Mosquito to its postwar work on the Vampire and Drover, plus its own projects and proposals.

The latter included a Chipmunk look-alike, a Twin-Merlin transport, an original jet trainer, a four engined airliner, and Sea Venom production. Military helicopter work became a major part of company production and overhaul, plus engine and propeller overhaul at its Lidcome plant.


Volume 4:

Chapter 18 sees us at the outbreak of war, the Aeronautical Engineering Branch of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) prepared a number of preliminary designs for aircraft types needed desperately by the Royal Australian Air Force, but the requirement was met from imports before detailed work began.

Modification of contemporary aircraft types to suit military roles was another major task undertaken by DCA, as well as the development of the `Flying Jeep' (Skywards) which was based on the Cierva C30A autogyro.

To meet the urgent need for transport aircraft by the RAAF, and for civil commitments, investigations were carried out on all sorts of aircraft from the Avro 10, the Norseman, the Curtiss Caravan, and the Commando, plus a number of local designs - the allotment of C-47's by the United State Army Air Force (USAAF) overcame the shortage.

Firms like Clyde Engineering, and Aircraft Development tried to obtain contracts to build Oxfords, Ansons, and the Bellanca 28-90B, but developments took another direction.

The war also brought a rash of proposals from smaller firms anxious to participate in the obvious need for an expanded Air Force, and many had, or obtained alliances with English or American firms with the hope of a licence production arrangement.

However, none were acceptable to the RAAF and they were all stillborn, but nonetheless, the proposals, negotiations, and principles so involved, are covered in detail.

This chapter also includes a representative selection of major redesigns to various aircraft types, and of re-engine projects, over an extended period, plus the work done by the two major airlines, after World War II, towards upgrading their fleets.

Chapter 19 looks at the Post-war period, there was a resurgence of interest in training and personal aircraft, and the work of eight companies so involved is covered, with their products including the Victa Airtourer, the Yeoman Cropmaster, and the Transavia Airtruck.

Chapter 20 deals primarily with the postwar homebuilding movement and the formation of the Ultralight Aircraft Association, which became the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia. It is divided into four parts, covering the latter's aircraft types, the minimum-aircraft movement, individual aircraft projects, and rotary-wing projects.

By the way, in case you are interested, here is a little about Keith Maggs, the author:

Keith Meggs began work at Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation early in 1943 as a teenager, and began gliding at the end of 1945.

In August 1948 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force for flying training, and subsequently flew Mustangs and later Meteor Mk.8 jets in the Korean War, earning the DFM and AAM. Following this he flew Vampires in Australia and Malta.

Keith rejoined the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in 1957 working for several years on Sabres and the Ceres cropduster.

He then joined the Department of Civil Aviation as an Air Traffic Controller before taking up freelance charter flying, which lasted some 25 years and culminated in a grand total of 19,460 hours attained on 109 types of aircraft.

A foundation member of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia in 1959, Keith has been President since 1988.



A update on this project. I spoke with the Author Keith Meggs last week - the books are still coming and shouldn't be too much longer. The shear size of the project has delayed things to date.


I hold a pre-publication order form in my hands, sent by mail last Saturday. Volume One: 1884 to 1939 seems to be available now (or in the nearest future). I'm not so interested in this period, but I would like to read the opinion of buyers about the quality as soon as they receive their copies.

Ok folks, its been a while, but the first book is almost here. As Thomas mentioned above he, I (and hopefully a few of you) received this recently:



If anyone would like a pdf copy to place an order, please let me know.

My order is already on the way.



Vol 1 (2 books, hard bound in a slip case) arrived today - stunning work. If you have any interest in Australian designed/built aircraft this is a must!

If you want a contact to purchase, just let me know.



Some news re the follow on volumes - received this yesterday from the publishing team:

I am currently in the process of finishing-off Volume Two — to be ready for printing.
The script is done, the time consuming process is completing the photograph layout.
I anticipate Volume Two to be ready for the printers about mid-year.
Many aviation enthusiasts like yourself are eagerly awaiting the CAC story -- about an amazing company with a 50-year history. It is not far off, but keep on saving, it will cost more than Volume One.

The script for Volumes Three and Four is also 98% complete — only the photograph layout remains to be completed.

Happy reading, from Michael
Finger-Four Publishing.


If volume two contains info on the CA-23, I'm highly interested, especially if it has more drawings and technical detail, as it I was just about to start 3D modeling this aircraft.
Sundog said:
Has there been any word on volume two?

I'm keen to know the latest on Vol 2 as well, and have been thinking about it again as another Xmas approaches.

I've been implying to my father that something great is on the way for s few years now!

I am sure it will be worth the wait.

A little glimmer of hope on this front. I have been in touch with Keith Meggs' son. He informs me that Volume 2 is still coming. There have been some hold ups with layout,
proof reading and production but they plan to launch a dedicated website for the book this side of Christmas.

I will advise more as I hear it.
ZacYates said:
Optimistic bump for info on Vol.II? B)

I communicated with Keith's son Ross Meggs earlier this week. Ross said Vol 2 is still a little way off. He said he would let me know when it was available. I know it is nothing definitive, but sounds like progress is still being made toward Vol 2.
WJPearce said:
ZacYates said:
Optimistic bump for info on Vol.II? B)

I communicated with Keith's son Ross Meggs earlier this week. Ross said Vol 2 is still a little way off. He said he would let me know when it was available. I know it is nothing definitive, but sounds like progress is still being made toward Vol 2.

Ross told me that his father, Keith (the author) has had a lengthy spell in hospital with a broken shoulder. That seriously disrupted the writing.

Having said that, they now have a website for the books which will allow people to keep tabs on progress easier and to order.
Thanks for the link mate. A few gems at the new website like the DCA design for a post war transport plane and Keith Megg's amazing painting of the Woomera bomber (now my computer's desktop wallpaper). I really want the later volumes of this masterpiece in waiting!

Attached is a low resolution image of the Dept. of Civil Aviation "Post War Aircraft Specification Scheme 1". See the website above for higher resolution and more.


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What was this aircraft ?,and from which company,I can't see well.


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I've seen this before. I recall that it was a late-war proposal from the Dept. of Civil Aviation.
Flying Sorcerer said:
I've seen this before. I recall that it was a late-war proposal from the Dept. of Civil Aviation.

Thank you Flying Sorcerer,

and it clears this Dept. had its own series,the photo indicate to 1092.
GTX said:
Almost looks to have some DC5 heritage in there.

Says Airspeed Ambassador to me . . .

Tony (not Ross) Meggs answered a few days ago.

Thanks for your interest. There is a very good chance that Volume 2 will be out this year. The subsequent volumes should not be too far behind. Keep an eye on the website for news.

One of the longest awaited aviation books I ever wanted. Keep your fingers crossed that this time the schedule will be kept.
Tony (not Ross) Meggs answered a few days ago.

Thanks for your interest. There is a very good chance that Volume 2 will be out this year. The subsequent volumes should not be too far behind. Keep an eye on the website for news.

One of the longest awaited aviation books I ever wanted. Keep your fingers crossed that this time the schedule will be kept.

My wallet is prepared to make the sacrifice.


Volume 2 is nearing publication, it is currently being indexed by a third party. It could be available in a month or two [added by me: late June]. We have decided to offer a discount to anyone willing to pre-order, by paying the full cost of $190 (which is a $30 discount). This will help us determine how many copies to print, as well as defray some of the up-front printing costs. This offer will end as soon as the book is published, when the price will become $220. Anyone wanting to take up this offer should follow the instructions on the “purchase” page. Note that postage and packing is extra, and (in Australia) is $36. Express post is an option if you want that. As soon as the book is published, it will be sent.

Overseas orders will be assessed for postage on individual basis. Note that the Australian dollar is very weak against the US dollar, so all you Americans will get a very good deal.

FWIW, I have pre-ordered. Also, the contents of Vol 2 (over 1,358 pages) are listed on the site.
I've added the contents pages here.


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Folks, only just became aware of this: The author, Keith Meggs, died on the 13th March 2022. Volume 3 is being completed by his family.
Very sorry to hear that. My condolences to them. When Volume 3 does appear, I shall buy it to complete my set/
Received Volume 2 (2 books with nearly 1800 pages combined) yesterday. Lot & lots of reading. Already some gems discovered... :D
Hi I'm trying to compile the most accurate information that I can about the CAC CA-23 so I can get a flyable Mod made up for DCS I have some from the national archives ect, predictably their are a lot of holes in it an it is frustrating. I am going to have to squerrel away my pennies for the book for a while. Sorry to hear about Keith I am glad that he got around putting all of this stuff into books. Thanks Rob

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